Low tech, meet high tech. At Toy Fair 2012, integrating iPhones and iPads into analog play settings was a hot trend, but puzzle manufacturer Ravensburger took the concept in an exciting new direction. Through use of the iOS device's camera and a free augmented reality app, pointing your tablet at a completed jigsaw puzzle image can unlock games, sightseeing tours, and more. When was the last time someone rewarded you for completing a puzzle?
Of the several AR-enabled puzzles on display at Toy Fair, the most interactive was the aquarium scene. Entitled "Colorful Underwater World," this puzzle contains a fun look-and-find game. You'll just have to assemble the 1,000 piece puzzle in order to play it.
Once you've finished the puzzle, you can view the aquarium scene through your iOS device, and the game will begin. The AR app places animated fish in front of the camera's image, challenging you to find the matching fish in the puzzle's artwork and tap the screen where it is shown. As long as you can keep matching and tapping fish, you continue to rack up points.
One of the other interesting AR-enabled puzzles was a 360-degree tour of Paris. After completing a 1,000 piece puzzle depicting a portion of the Paris skyline, the AR app lets viewers extend the image full-circle in their camera. As an educational bonus, notable locations can be tapped on the screen to reveal background information.
In total, Ravensburger brought four of these AR-enabled puzzles to Toy Fair 2012. The remaining two were a picturesque summer scene on the Nordic countryside which could be tapped to transform into a snowy winter scene, and an African safari, where tapping an animal unlocks informational videos about the species. All of the above puzzles will see store shelves this fall, and will retail for $19.99.